In keeping with the mad dash towards completion here we spent another busy Saturday out doing the sort of things we “must do” before we leave.
We went first to a Hospital on the Chao Phraya river bank where there are a number of medical type museums. This was the first real hospital in Bangkok, back at the turn of the century, and was sponsored by the then King who sent students abroad to become Doctors; then opened the hospital for public use once he had established the place.
The museums included Pathology, and Forensics, and contained some pretty gruesome stuff:
> Bottled organs and deformed Babies
> Preserved conjoined twins
> Preserved bodies/parts and pictures of bullet and other wounds
> Embalmed rapists
There was even a couple of samples of small bodies sectioned top to toe into 3 pieces (preserved)
Left one thinking, that place.
Following that we went to the museum of Royal Barges. These boats are fascinating, and are decorated with elements of Thai History, relating to Buddhism and back through the Hindu religion. These boats will be used by the King for a parade on the river later this year in celebration of his 60th year on the throne (the longest living reigning monarch).
Afterwards we went on a long-tail boat through the Klongs (canals) off the river to see the life along the canals and also a floating market. The floating markets used to be a necessary part of the way of life here, as vendors took their goods onto the water for the Klong Communities to do their shopping. Now they are mainly tourist attractions, but can still be quite interesting. The houses and other structures along the canals are very interesting too; to see how people live.
That took us most of the day, but just to round it out we went to a traditaional Thai Puppet show in the evening. This again was more of the Thai Buddhist and God/Demon/spirit folklore, and was really interesting too. The puppets are manipulated by 3 people who all move in unison on stage with the puppet to produce an interesting effect and a great show. The puppets, with their puppet-masters, came out into the audience at the end, and it was really funny to watch people’s different reactions to the interaction with the audience, especially the kids.
Quite a full day, and another one to remember, for sure.